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Morgan Smith

Welcome to Cogent Legal Blog

Hello! I know your time is short and valuable, so I’ll get right to the point.

A PI lawyer, a defense attorney and a judge walk into a bar one day and …

Jokes aside, I’m launching this blog as an offshoot of Cogent Legal’s website for five main reasons:

(1) to share practical news, tips and tools that help trial attorneys move their cases forward to successful resolution;

(2) to show attorneys how to use graphics and develop visual presentations to make their cases more compelling and easy to understand;

(3) to share news about emerging trends and issues in litigation—and to give me a soapbox to share my opinions on those trends and issues;

(4) to link to others in the legal graphics and litigation field so that we can swap ideas and shout-outs;

(5) and finally, last but not least, to promote a less stressed, more manageable workplace for attorneys. Let’s face it: We work in an adversarial field with deadline pressures and dog-eat-dog relationships that can feel unbearable. I launched my new firm, Cogent Legal, in part to make the life of a trial attorney easier by providing services that can help them save time, achieve optimal results, and avoid lengthy trials and appeals.

In upcoming posts I’ll share some practical advice, but for now, I’ll end with a story that has almost nothing to do with my field of litigation graphics and strategic consultation. It’s about the Ancient Mayans. No joke.

Recently I traveled to Mexico and visited the Mayan ruins in Tulum, at the same time while reading Charles Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.

That’s me with my wife, Sarah, and our children Colly and Kyle near the ruins of Tulum.

On the site of the thousand-year-old ruins and in the pages of the book, I got my first looks at Mayan hieroglyphic script, which of course made no sense at all.  The ancient alphabet looks like tiles of abstract designs with no coherent message or pattern.

Mayan Glyphics (courtesy Wikimedia)

But then I saw a guide that deciphered the designs and broke them into smaller pieces that represent symbols and sounds.

The thought crossed my mind: There is no way anyone could understand this language just by hearing it explained to them. You have to see it, and break it down into smaller parts, to get it. And then the connection to the law and legal graphics hit me: Some things are exceedingly difficult to explain without pictures to show what you’re talking about.

A case and the law that pertains to it can seem as perplexing as those hieroglyphics. Written and oral explanations only go so far. Oftentimes, showing what you’re talking about with diagrams, illustrations, animations and the like—instead of just talking about or reading about it—is the best and perhaps only way to make a point intelligible and convincing.

Thanks for reading my first blog post, and I hope you’ll subscribe and send feedback in the comment field below.

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